Former Female Employee Sues Spurs, Joshua Primo For 'Abhorrent Conduct'
By Jason Hall
November 3, 2022
A former team psychologist has filed a lawsuit against the San Antonio Spurs and recently waived guard Joshua Primo alleging that the NBA franchise had "ignored her repeated reports of indecent exposure" committed by Primo during her tenure, San Antonio Express-News first reported on Thursday (November 3).
Dr. Hillary Cauthen accused Primo of exposing himself to her nine times dating back to the initial incident during a psychological session in December 2021, which she first reported to Spurs management in January 2022, according to the lawsuit filed in Bexar County, Texas.
"Rather than act on Dr. Cauthen's reports, the Spurs ignored her complaints, hoping the organization could ignore and then cover up Primo's actions," the lawsuit states via ESPN. "The Spurs organization was willing to sacrifice Dr. Cauthen to keep what they hoped would one day be a star player.
"Once Primo's conduct entered the public sphere, the Spurs were forced to act and release Primo. The Spurs' recent actions with regard to Primo are too little, too late. The Spurs' public statement about Primo's departure is a complete farce. The Spurs' conduct sends a strong message that they, like other major sports organizations, are willing to tolerate abhorrent conduct on the part of athletes and sacrifice loyal employees, so long as the athlete is successful on the court."
Cauthen is being represented by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee -- the attorney for the more than 20 women who've alleged sexual misconduct against suspended Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson -- who claimed they would seek a criminal complaint with multiple counts of indecent exposure filed against Primo in Bexar County, ESPN reports.
"Josh Primo's conduct is well outside of the bounds of what is normal and acceptable," Buzbee said Thursday morning. "His conduct shocks the conscience. I would also say that the Spurs' conduct, the way they handled this conduct, was egregious and absolutely unreasonable."
Cauthen was hired by Spurs in April 2021 and her contract was not renewed at the time of its expiration in August 2022.
Buzbee accuses Spurs general manager Brian Wright, as well as the team's deputy general counsel and head of human relations, of failing to appropriately respond when informed by Cauthen of the allegations against Primo, claiming that the team told her in June that longtime head coach Gregg Popovich was aware of the issue, to which Buzbee said, "We may have concluded here that they were lying."
Buzbee said that Spurs management told Cauthen "to sit it out" and allowed her to work from home rather than addressing the problem and that the team had "lost trust in her" at the time.
"The right thing is saying 'No, this is not okay,' to hold people accountable, to make systemic change and to protect those that suffer in silence," Cauthen said at the news conference on Thursday. "The right thing is also saying 'I'm sorry. I have failed you and we need to do better.'
"The organization I worked for has failed me. ... I spoke up. I asked for help. I gave options. My voice and my feelings, my actionable items, were silenced. Due to their inaction and protection of their assets, other individuals were impacted, and for that I am truly sorry."
Primo, who was selected by the Spurs at No. 12 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, was waived by the team days after allegations that he exposed himself to another woman during the team's road trip to Minneapolis last week and was held out of San Antonio's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves prior to his release.
Spurs CEO RC Buford said waiving the 19-year-old guard was in the "best interest of both the organization and Joshua" in a statement announcing his release at the time.